Warmer weather has lured people out into the sunshine, where they will be walking by shops and perusing their windows. And if your displays haven’t seen much TLC lately, it may be time to put on that thinking cap.
Denis Caldora, lighting display expert and owner of Caldora Lighting Design, breaks down his formula for success into a few basic tenets.
“Window displays should be simple,” he says. They should tell one message and give one style while grabbing attention.
He says lighting retailers focus too much on showing too many of their products.
“All you see are lights; you don’t see style,” Caldora says. “They know you’re a lighting showroom; they don’t have to see in and see everything.”
Another mistake people make is trying to show a story in the display, explains Caldora. In the process, “they put too much crap in the window, and then you don’t know what you’re looking at.”
His fix? Show as little product as possible while still getting your message across.
Two other goals Caldora says to keep in mind when creating window displays include getting attention and luring passersby into the showroom.
“If I can shop your showroom from the window, I don’t need to go in,” he says.
He explains that if shoppers can see into the showroom from outside the store, they may be discouraged to go in if they see that it’s too busy or too slow inside. But there is a way around this dilemma.
“If I can’t see in [the showroom], I’m forced to go in,” Caldora explains.
Once people are in the door, that’s where your customer service team steps in.
“You’re in the people business first,” he says.
Caldora emphasizes that one of the most vital aspects to remember when creating window displays is the need to shut off the window from the store, thus blocking the showroom view from the window, and in turn, blocking the light.
“The most important thing in a lighting showroom is that we’re dark,” Caldora says. “Look at your house at night when you turn on the lights. How does it look compared to when you turn on the lights during the day?”
Caldora says he first got the idea from a concept he saw elsewhere, reminding us that not all ideas have to be the very first of their kind.
He was inspired by Louis Tiffany’s showroom in Manhattan, he says. “That’s not plagiarism; I just took the concept and brought it into lighting.”
Caldora encourages others to do the same.
“We have to go out of our industry to look at ideas,” Caldora says. “If you stay in the industry and try to just show lighting … we’re stale.”
Once you’ve created your new window display, Caldora says to change it again after three months. If you wait longer than that, he says, people won’t notice the display anymore.
To put it simply: “Make it exciting,“ he says. “Don’t look like a lighting showroom in the window. Do something fun, do something silly.”
Denis Caldora's Tips for Creating Window Displays:
- Keep it simple
- Focus on showing only one message and style
- Grab attention
- Look outside the industry for inspiration
- Change the display every three months